SLUG: 2-268888 Iran Trial (L) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:









INTRO: In Iran, the Justice Department of Tehran has filed charges of subversion against four Iranians and a German citizen living in Germany. Correspondent Scott Bobb reports from our Middle East Bureau in Cairo that the five are accused of organizing a conference in Berlin last April that has led to the prosecution of 17-Iranian reformists who attended.

TEXT: The Iranian News Agency reported the indictments, citing judicial sources.

It said the five are accused of cooperating with agents of the opposition guerrilla group - Mujahideen Khalq - to overthrow the Iranian government, and of waging propaganda against the Islamic republic.

The agency quoted sources as saying if the accused do not appear before the court in Tehran they will be tried in absentia.

The conference was organized by a foundation in Berlin last April to discuss the parliamentary elections early this year in which reformist candidates scored a landslide victory.

/// OPT /// Conservative Iranian officials say they were shocked by television footage showing dancing at the conference and women with bared arms. The appearance of members of the Mujahideen Khalq, which periodically stages attacks against government installations in Iran, also angered some leaders. /// END OPT ///

Dozens of prominent Iranians who attended the conference were arrested upon their return home and 17 are being tried for anti-Islamic and anti-government behavior.

Originally they were to be tried behind closed doors, but following public protests, a Tehran judge ruled last week that they would be tried in public.

The defendants include members of parliament, journalists, and social activists. Most are associated with the reformist movement that has been battling conservatives to open-up Iranian politics and society since the election of President Mohammed Khatami three-years ago. (SIGNED)